Home / Work / Public Engagement / City of Dreams

City of Dreams

City of Dreams is an ambitious 10-year mission, aiming to improve the life chances of all children and young people in Newcastle and Gateshead. Led by NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues, City of Dreams goal is:

Children and young people are active and creative citizens, able to improve their life chances

We will achieve this by: 

  • working collaboratively across – and outside - NGCV, coordinating existing content, learning programmes, and resources
  • developing new long-term activities that addresses social challenges faced by younger people and finding new ways to engage with the diversity of the local population
  • promoting agency of children and young people in society and in the decision making of own organisations 

Why are we doing this?

There are 165,000 children and young people under 25 living in Newcastle and Gateshead. 

They are not a homogenous group. Statistics tell us their ethnicity, sexuality and educational needs are increasingly diverse. They live in unique localities, and have a broad range of interests, talents and ideas. Research also shows they are the most deprived children in the UK, that more of those under 18 live in local authority care than in most other areas of England, and 42% do not expect to hold down regular employment.

Arts Council England information suggests they are less likely to be an audience member at film, theatre, cinema, art and music events than older audiences. But we also know young people engage with cultural organisations on Tyneside over 600,000 times in an average year, and that 8-out-of-10 schools - and more than 50 community organisations - work with one of NGCV’s members.

NGCV believe we can build on the current reach of cultural organisations, enable all under25s in Newcastle and Gateshead to be active and creative citizens, and improve their life chances.

To achieve this goal, we will work with partners to develp the City of Dreams programme in 2018.

A guiding principle of CoD is that all children and young people have the right to a say in decisions about their lives. We will support them to tell their stories and influence civic decisions, and we will make sure they have they a strong voice in cultural decision making.

The Big Culture Conversation

The Big Culture Conversation will enable children and young people to set an agenda for culture in Newcastle and Gateshead, on an annual basis. The first cycle has started in late 2017, to ensure CoD is informed by the voice of children and young people before it even begins. The first annual Big Culture Consultation event on 21st February has been co-produced with children and young people and will involve up to 300 young people aged 13-25.  The top emerging topics will be presented by young people and discussed in a series of co-production workshops and result in the City of Dreams plan


Further information


Ben Dickenson, Executive Producer, City of Dreams ben@cityofdreams.org.uk

The Big Culture Conversation

Children and young people play a central role in co-producing City of Dreams, part of this is through the Big Culture Conversation.  Click on the link to find out more:

Big Culture Conversation - Annual Event 

City of Dreams Chanpions

City of Dreams is supported by Champions drawn from NGCV and other organisations. Click on the link to find out more:

City of Dreams Champions Brief